SpokenWord at the Cave Café every Monday. AWOL writers’ workshop at the Chat Noir every Sunday. (Updated 14th May 2023)

For now SpokenWord is staying at the Cave Café… Arthur’s bar on the north slopes of Montmartre. 134 rue Marcadet, 75018 Métro Lamarck-Caulaincourt (line 12). Sign up at 8pm, poetry begins at 8.45pm underground in the cave. Hope to see you there! 

SpokenWord Paris is one pole of a nomadic tribe of people who love poetry, writing and song. A home for creatives and lost anglophones. We do an open mic night called SpokenWord every Monday at the Chat Noir and an allied writers’ workshop every Sunday. We do a literary journal called The Bastille and Tightrope Books published many of us in the book “Strangers in Paris.” Click on the blue stamp on the right to sign up to the mailing list – if it doesn’t work send an email asking to be put on the mailing list to db1066 @ gmail.com. Our Facebook page.

Open mic/scène ouverte: Performance poetry. Lire vivant. Poésie sonore. Stand up. Monologue. Stories. Beat poetry. Spoken word. English. Français. Your own original texts. Old texts from Rimbaud to Dr Seuss, Beowulf to Gil Scott-Heron. Chacun a son mot à dire. Make the words come alive. Acoustic songs also welcome.

Poetry video clips on our instagram at spokenword_paris

SpokenWord Sounds
A taste of Monday nights at the Chat Noir, by Victor. Listen or download here.

Every Monday except August. Come to the Cave Café. 134 rue Marcadet, 75018. Métro Lamrack Caulaincourt (line 12).  Chat Noir, 76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud 75011. Métro Parmentier/Couronnes. Sign up at 8pm in the bar. Poetics start 8.45pm underground. More info here. Paris’ biggest and longest-running English open mic night, started in 2006. All languages welcome. 

Check next week’s theme here. Themes are a suggestion to inspire you but you don’t have to follow them. Indeed, many people don’t.

AWOL writers’ workshop

AWOL normally takes place every Sunday evening, 5.30pm – 7.30pm at the Chat Noir (76 rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud, 75011). AWOL’s facebook page. Free. Bring your writing or just come and listen and join in the discussion. Hosted by Bruce Sherfield, Simon Millward, Thibaut Narme and Camille Adnot. Friendly and insightful and afterwards you’re welcome to come for a drink. In a previous incarnation this ran for 10 years as The Other Writers Group and AWOL continues that group’s ethos of giving invaluable insightful feedback and providing a supportive space to hone your writing craft. Plus community among writers. Click here for a more detailed description.

Spoken World Online

This open mic is weekly on Tuesdays, an online version of what we do in the Chat Noir, and is hosted by David Leo Sirois. It’s on Zoom. More info at the Spoken World Online Facebook group.

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Monalisa Maione is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris, June 5th! Monday’s Theme: TEMPEST

Monalisa Maione is a 2-time Pushcart Prize nominated poet and visual artist. She lives near the ocean on California’s Pacific Coast Highway and makes stained glass panels in anatomical themes and photographs of biological specimens. From her home in Paris 18e, she writes darkly humorous poetry that generally explores power dynamics between institutions and individuals. Monalisa regularly smashes the patriarchy using tiny acts of defiance including outbidding men on eBay for power tools, being very successful in business and never faking her orgasms. Her preferred mode of transportation is her Ducati motorcycle, and she only takes advice from live crows.

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David Barnes’ poetry book – get it here!

You can now order my corrupt press book Poets are liars who tell the truth online following this link.

Check out corrupt press and their great catalogue of poetry books here: corrupt press

David Barnes has been reading his poems aloud in Paris since 2003. This book contains the best of them, road-tested at the weekly open mic and writers’ community he fathered, Spoken Word Paris.

Here you’ll find poems that bite, such as ‘Pity le pauvre Parisien’, ‘Interesting Times for Generation Zed’, ‘The Corporate Goldfish’ and ‘Bitter Valentine’ alongside poems that are just fun, such as ‘Shrove Tuesday’, a poem about pancakes, ‘Owl’ and ‘She speaks fish’.

There are poems about Paris ‘with its cat hiss of coffee machines’, Paris ‘who dances by numbers but longs to release jazz…’, portraits of cafés and Parisians.

There are poems that dive into dark waters – the ties of love and suffering that bind him to his brother, mother and father back in England in a family story shaped by what could not be said, where everyone haunted their own lives.

And there are poems that express the sheer exhilaration of falling in love, such as ‘Dreaming, half dreaming, half asleep’ or the longing and regret when love cannot go anywhere – ‘Bric-a-brac’, ‘Inexhaustible’ – and the deep, everyday joys and struggles of sustained love – ‘Sunday morning market’.

James Baldwin’s Paris comes to mind, the foreigner’s fascination and frustration. There’s an endearing vulnerability too, frank and unpretentious.
— Craig Martin Getz, poet

With his blend of philosophy, imagery and acute observation, David Barnes conjures an eclectic series of worlds for his readers to inhabit.
— Sue Burge, poet

What is most evident in David Barnes’s mode of writing is his carnival about everything that lives, breathes and dies, or never does, houses and cities, people… a fête in the company of all that is, whereby each poem discovers itself to better express its bold narrative.
— Rethabile Masilo, poet

Cover image from a painting by Iana Sophia. Photos by Sabine Dundure.

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Mark Lipman is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris, May 29th! Monday’s Theme: CHANGE

Mark Lipman, founder of the press Vagabond, the Culver City Book Festival, the Elba Poetry Festival; winner of the 2015 Joe Hill Labor Poetry Award; the 2016 International Latino Book Awards and L’Alloro di Dante 2023 (Dante’s Laurel – Italy), a writer, poet, multi-media artist and activist, he’s the author of more than twelve books including The Role of the Revolutionary Poet in Society and a Strategic Vision for the 21st Century. Mark is currently traveling the world, using poetry to connect communities to the greater social justice issues, while building consciousness through the spoken word.

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David Barnes’ book launch at SpokenWord 22/5/2023

Monday 22nd May at the Cave Café – SpokenWord theme JOURNEY

– If you want to pick up a copy of the book please help us out by bringing €15 in cash!

This book has been 20 years in the making. It’s older than SpokenWord Paris itself!

It began when I arrived off the Eurostar, fell in with a crowd of wannabe writers at Shakespeare & Company and started writing, writing, writing every week and reading it out in bars. Now it’s a book from Corrupt Press containing the best of twenty years of writing, a kind of ”greatest hits” of those years.

But who am I?

David Barnes, born in Reading, England and encouraged to write poetry at junior school and read it out loud, even then. Born at the start of the 70s, escaped to Manchester University at 18 to study Physics and American Studies. Spent years in Reading with chronic fatigue syndrome, volunteering at the Rising Sun Arts Centre when I could. Escaped to hitch hike and wander in Europe, teaching English in Slovenia. Landed in Paris expecting to get itchy feet within 6 months – but still here in 2023!

Trained in Gestalt psychotherapy at Metanoia Institute, London, and now working full time as a therapist.

Founded and ran the Other Writers’ Group at Shakespeare & Company for ten years. Founded SpokenWord Paris in 2006. Prose editor of Strangers in Paris, (Tightrope Books, 2011) and editor of issue.ZERO and the Bastille lit. magazines (SpokenWord Paris, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016).

Father of one.

Still writing. Still in love with writing and the power of words to conjure worlds and get closer to naming experience.

So if you’re in Paris Monday 22nd, you’re invited to come to SpokenWord at the Cave Café and check out the book…

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Kristin Sanders is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris, May 15th! Monday’s Theme: CELLPHONE

Kristin Sanders is the author of the hybrid poetry book CUNTRY, which was a finalist for the National Poetry Series, and two poetry chapbooks: Orthorexia, and This is a map of their watching me, a finalist in the 2015 BOAAT Chapbook Competition. Her work has recently been included in Prose Poetry, an authoritative introduction to the history, development, and features of English-language prose poetry published by Princeton University Press, and in the international anthology Alcatraz (Gazebo Books). Her essays and reviews have been published in Columbia Journal, Longreads, LitHub, Bitch Magazine, and Los Angeles Review of Books. She holds an MFA in poetry from Louisiana State University, and previously served as poetry editor at the New Orleans Review and book review manager at The Southern Review. Originally from Santa Maria, California, she is currently based in Paris, France, where she is a freelance copywriter and teaches at the University of Arizona online.

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Maria D’Arcy is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris, May 1st! Monday’s Theme. MAY DAY/ Mayday!

Maria D’Arcy is a storyteller, author and teacher. She lives at the foot of Montmartre and is easily recognisable in Paris for her extravagant hats. Previously, she lived in Dublin where she attended the Gaiety School of Acting and appeared on RTE TV as a dancer. She mounted a literary one-woman show at the Irish Cultural Centre featuring the works of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and Robert Burns. Joyce’s Bloomsday has turned into an annual event for her and others in Paris and for her Salomé performances Maria often includes the sensual dance of the seven veils. Shakespeare and Company has welcomed her novel (Seventh Heaven Seven Perceptions) onto the shelves of their prestigious bookshop. The French translation “A l’heure du septième ciel’ by Anne Rolland is also out on the market. During the confinement Maria worked with several voice talents to record it as an audiobook which led on to her doing further training as a voice over for ads at O’Bahama’s studios. She has been interviewed by World Radio Paris, Fusac magazine and Irish Central about her novel. Last week she received the good news that a short story she wrote quickly has been selected for an anthology, Defining Definitions. A full description of her dance, theatre and author performances can be viewed at www.mariadarcy.com  On Monday 1 May 2023 her book will be on sale for the discount price of 10 euros to lucky fellow Spokenworders.

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Robert ‘Rabbie’ Thorne is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris, April 24th! Monday’s Theme: UPSIDE DOWN

Rabbie Thorne is a 21-year-old writer and poet from a small village in the Scottish Highlands. His first time performing spoken-word was with SpokenWord Paris last October and he has been a regular at SWP since. While attending our weekly open mics, Rabbie’s literary career has blossomed. He has written articles for several Scottish newspapers, published reflective pieces in zines and art collectives, and recently sold his first short story to Extra Teeth, a literary journal based in Edinburgh. He continues to write original poems on a regular basis inspired by our weekly themes. Between his full-time studies and part-time work, Rabbie is redrafting his debut novel: a roman à clef and coming-of-age story set in Inverness. His work draws from his interests in Scottish and Gaelic culture, his rural upbringing, and the influence of his favourite authors: Norman MacCaig, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, and Nan Shepherd. On returning to Scotland to complete his degree, he plans to attend open mics in and around Edinburgh. So, if you’re visiting and in need of a guide (or someone to share a dram of whisky), don’t hesitate to drop him a line! You can find most of his work and contact details @r.w.thorne on Instagram.

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Mary McColley is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris, April 17th! Monday’s Theme: STRANGER

Mary McColley is a writer and poet who has been published in a number of journals and is the author of  the mystery novel A Wrinkle in Crime.”. Originally from Maine.she has since wandered and worked in France and Thailand. She likes snow, the ocean, and rabbits (also Claude François)..Her pastimes include killing lobsters and selling street art.

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SpokenWord at the Cave Café Monday 10th April


Sign up downstairs from 8pm.

Poetics begin 8.45pm.

At the Cave Café, 134 rue Marcadet, 75018 Paris.

Métro Lamarck-Caulaincourt (line 12).

Photo by Sabine Dundure.

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Seamus Bradley is Our Special Guest at SpokenWord Paris, April 3rd! Monday’s Theme: TOUCH

Seamus Bradley.is a performing artist based in Dublin, Ireland. His work has been published by the Dublin based ”Flash” but with a background in visual art and an interest in the science of chaos, ”my main creative output has recently become the performance of words and other sounds under the name arfi720”. The ever-popular and charismatic MC (our fond opinion)of the weekly open stage event, Circle Sessions at The International Bar, will be sharing words about life, love, and ”why we can’t have nice things”..

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